Wimbledon, England: Lauren Davis wasn’t even supposed to be playing in Wimbledon’s main draw, let alone upsetting defending champion Angelique Kerber in the second round.
It’s been quite a week.
The 95th-ranked Davis lost in the last round of qualifying and figured that was that. But then another player withdrew from the tournament, opening up a spot, and the 25-year-old American got in — a “lucky loser” in tennis parlance.
On Thursday, Davis turned things around after a poor start and knocked off the No. 5-seeded Kerber 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to get to the third round and equal her best showing at any Grand Slam tournament.
“I wouldn’t say that I was surprised, because I always believe in myself. She’s obviously an incredible champion; I have immense respect for her,” Davis said. “I definitely believe in myself and believe that I can hang with these girls and beat them.”
Davis is the third unseeded American to earn early upsets at Wimbledon.
On Monday, 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff upset 39-year-old Venus Williams in the first round. She followed that up by beating 30-year-old Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova in two straight sets on Wednesday.
Reilly Opelka took out the No. 22 seed and three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday.
Davis seemed to move around just fine despite a heavily wrapped left knee.
“The tape is a lot worse than it looks. It’s just a little soreness with my meniscus on my left side,” Davis said. “It’s really just prevention at this point, especially on the grass where it can be slippery potentially.”
Davis was by far the more aggressive player, compiling a hard-to-believe edge of 45-13 in total winners against Kerber, whom Davis called “a human backboard.”
This continues what’s been an up-and-down season for Kerber, who won her third career major championship a year ago at the All England Club by beating Serena Williams in the final.
Kerber hasn’t won a title since.
“I’m disappointed. Of course it’s not the way I would like to finish here or to play here,” the German said. “But you sometimes have days like that. You have to accept it. You have to learn from it.”
Image: Lauren Davis of the United States celebrates victory in her second-round match against Angelique Kerber on Day 4 at Wimbledon.